This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria/South Africa: Afcon 2013 - Maigari Commends Amaechi, Awaits Jonathan

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari on Friday heaped plaudits on the Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON, for his tremendous support to the Super Eagles in their 29th Africa Cup of Nations finals campaign.

After a somewhat lethargic and anxious start to the tournament, the Super Eagles improved steadily and are now on the verge of a third Cup of Nations triumph as they clash with Burkina Faso's Etalons in Sunday's Final at the National Stadium in Soweto.

Maigari said: "We are very appreciative of the huge support of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (CON) and indeed, other sports-loving State Chief Executives in Nigeria who have given support one way or the other.

"Governor Amaechi has particularly shown keen interest in the campaign of the team at this tournament. We commend him."

Governor Amaechi, who is also Chairman of the Governors' Forum of Nigeria, was at the Super Eagles' Ingwenyama Conference and Sport Resort in Nelspruit to gear the team up ahead of their important Group C clash with Zambia on January 25. He gave the team $100,000.

Maigari also showered praises on the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, CON, for his tremendous assistance to the team and the NFF during the qualifying campaign.

"Governor Imoke is a wonderful person. He hosted the team's home matches in the qualifying series and the players and coaches have not stopped talking about the hospitality they experienced in Calabar."

Maigari said on Friday afternoon that the team and NFF leadership are awaiting the arrival of President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, in Johannesburg for Sunday's Final.

Already, Honourable Minister/Chairman, National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi and a number of directors in the Commission, including the Director of Federations and Elite Athletes Department, Dr. Bolaji Ojo-Oba are on ground in Johannesburg.

Officials insist that the players woke up at their Garden Court Hotel in Johannesburg on Friday confident that skipper Joseph Yobo will lift the Africa Cup of Nations trophy on Sunday.

Burkina Faso are looking up to the Confederation of African Football to overturn the suspension of striker Jonathan Pitroipa, so he can play on Sunday.

There is a precedent. In 1986, the Egyptian FA appealed the suspension of talisman Taher Abou Zeid and the striker was cleared by CAF to play the final match, which host Egypt won on penalties against Cameroon in Cairo.

Pitroipa was expelled in Wednesday's semi final against Ghana in Nelspruit.

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